March 24, 2012

Butler Splits First League Games

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Butler opened its 2012 Horizon League schedule by splitting a pair of one-run decisions against Youngstown State at McCune Park in Catfield, Ohio, on Saturday, March 24.  Both games were decided in the final inning.

The Bulldogs (5-18), snapped a 12-game skid with a 5-4 victory in the first game of the league-opening twinbill at Youngstown State.  The host Penguins (14-6) came back in the second game to claim a 6-5 decision in 10 innings.

The two league foes will close out the three-game series with a single game at noon on Sunday, March 25.

Game 1 - Butler 5, Youngstown State 4
Senior Mallory Winters (right) singled with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to drive in Meaghan Sullivan with the game-winner in Butler's first 2012 Horizon League game.  Senior Breanna Fisher blanked the Penguins in the bottom of the seventh to earn her second win of the season.

With the game tied at 4-4, Sullivan led off the seventh inning with a single to left field and then, after one out, stole second base.  Penguin starter Casey Crozier struck out Butler's Erin Falkenberry for the second out, but Winters followed with a run-scoring single to left field.

Fisher retired the first two batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh, before Vicky Rumph doubled to left center.  Fisher walked Samantha Snodgrass, but then struck out Brooke Meenachan to seal the win.

The Bulldogs rallied from a 4-2 deficit to tie the game with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning.  Singles by Sullivan and Lauren McNulty started the rally and both later scored on a Youngstown State error.

Falkenberry, who slammed her second home run of the season in the fourth inning, and Sullivan led Butler's seven-hit attack with two hits apiece.  Fisher, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief of starter Leah Bry, allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out five.

Game 2 - Youngstown State 6, Butler 5 (10 innings)
Vicky Rumph plated the game-winning run with a bases-loaded, infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Youngstown State over Butler in the second game of the league doubleheader.  Rumph's clutch hit gave the Penguins their first lead of the game.

Butler took advantage of three Youngstown State errors to grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then made it 3-1 on Lauren McNulty's run-scoring single in the second.  The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning. Kayla Gray and Callie Dennison opened the inning with singles, and Gray later scored on a single by Cassie Rupel.  Dennison came home on a sacrifice bunt by Meaghan Sullivan.

Youngstown State tallied single runs in the first and fourth innings and then tied the game with a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth.  Rumph provided the big hit in the sixth with a two-run single.

Dennison led Butler's attack with three hits and two runs scored, while Rupel added a pair of hits and runs.  Leah Bry, who allowed just one earned run in seven-and-two-thirds innings of work, suffered the setback.  She had 10 strikeouts and three walks in the game.